President Trump declares national emergency over coronavirus
Updated: Mar 24, 2020
On Friday, President Donald Trump officially declared the coronavirus a national emergency at the White House Rose Garden with the purpose of providing states and local governments with additional funding to combat the virus.
The announcement served as an update for the American people from the president as he recapped the government's past efforts to combat the spread of the virus. President Trump claimed credit for reducing the spread of the virus by closing American borders with nations that contain significant numbers of infected people.
"I am urging every state to set up emergency operation centers effective immediately," the president said. "I'm also asking every hospital in this country to activate its emergency preparedness plan so that they can meet the needs of Americans everywhere."
President Trump also gave emergency authority to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar. The emergency authority gives Azar the power to "ignore applicable laws and regulations to give healthcare providers maximum flexibility to respond to the virus and care for patients."
The president also gathered executives from retail, healthcare, and other companies to announce that they were donating resources to institute drive-through testing across the United States.
In addition, President Trump announced that the federal government would waive interest on student loans.
As of Sunday, the U.S. has confirmed more than 2,950 cases of the novel coronavirus, and 57 people have died from the infection.
"Through a very collective action and shared sacrifice, national determination, we will overcome the threat of the virus," Trump said.